I wanted to share some of my brief thoughts, reflecting back on my experience at the recent 2014 ACPA National Convention in Indianapolis. To preface this all, I think I am horrible at networking in the traditional sense. I am very bad at going up to someone cold and striking up a conversation. I need more context to go on to keep the chat going somewhere beyond basic small talk (which I most often loathe). However, when I was at ACPA, I was able to utilize social media, namely Twitter, to serve as the groundwork for meeting a bunch of awesome people. Twitter was able to allow me to have some reference point to go up to people, introduce myself and say what I fan I was of their work, the content they share or even create themselves. My understanding is people love to talk about themselves or at the very least enjoy the praise so sharing my enjoyment of what they do online and asking questions about it served me well with anyone I ran into. It was great for both of us too to just be able to meet someone in person that you have engaged with for a while online. I even had lunch with someone at ACPA that I had known from Twitter chats. It was so cool!
I know for sure I would not have been able to have as many successful meetings at ACPA without Twitter. I owe it a lot and certainly advocate for it as a strong tool to foster in person connections and then maintain them afterwards. It's an extension and evolution of the business card I feel like. Definitely jump on to Twitter if you haven't already or be sure to engage with it more if you have joined. There is so much potential for community building within it and to learn from a network of people around the country and world (for more details on this point, check out Josie Ahlquist's recent blog post that I shared entitled "The Power of Networks").